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A giant Leap • 1.12.2011DurbanBhutanilmastonmuutos

Tariq Aziz
WWF:n Living Himalayas ohjelman vetäjä

Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas, Bhutan 2011

View of Bhutan's capital, Thimphu. Photo: Chris Chaplin, WWF.

Thimpu, Bhutan, 19 Nov 2011: In a serious regional bid to adapt to the impacts of climate change in southern slopes of eastern Himalayas, four nations came together on November 19 at Thimpu in Bhutan, to declare their commitment to fight the impacts climate change by creating resilience among Himalayan communities and its ecosystems.

A small step, as it may seem, it is a giant leap for humanity that lives in the lap of the eastern Himalayas and is linked to it by its waters that drain in the mighty Brahmaputra and the holy Ganges. The nations of east Himalayan region, by coming together, have taken the lead on preparing their people to face the impacts of climate change. By doing so, the governments of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have exhibited tremendous sagacity.

While the concerns of adverse impacts of climate change continue to dog the world, here are set of nations that have not only realized that it is a shared challenge and a common concern, but have also agreed that regional cooperation is the response for strengthening adaptation plans to address these challenges. This is a positive move towards taking climate change head-on, while the world takes its time to work it out.

Delegates have lunch amidst traditional Bhutanese tents at the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas.Photo: Chris Chaplin, WWF.

A small step, as it may seem, but to move away from petty stances and a resolution for action to prepare the people of a region for the worst that is yet to come, is no small step. Adoption of a framework of cooperation and a mechanism to ensure its implementation as agreed upon by India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangaldesh at Thimpu is ample proof of it. Indeed, a giant leap was made at the ‘Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas’ on this day the 19th of Nov 2011.

It is ‘Smart to Start’ and not wait for the magic wand to be found. The initiative for a Living Himalyas at Thimpu is a smart start that excludes none or includes some. It is only a constructive beginning to prepare people living in and downstream of the eastern half of the lofty Himalayas, for a life in the face of climate change. It is a beginning and must only be viewed as one.

Cooperation between four nations to build resilience to climate change on southern watersheds of eastern Himalayas by Ensuring energy security and enhancing alternative technologies; Securing the natural freshwater systems of the Himalayas ; Ensuring food security and securing livelihoods; and Securing biodiversity and ensuring its sustainable use, is an example to be admired and mimicked.

WWF welcomes the Summit’s declaration and the frame work of regional cooperation. It will continue to work with the governments and local communities for maintaining a ‘Scared Himalayas for Water, Life and Culture’.